There's a weird story today from the Chronicle's Phil Matier in which a San Francisco supervisor is pointing the finger at San Mateo County and the SamTrans bus agency for intentionally shuttling homeless people out of SFO and dropping them off at 2 a.m. at the new "end of the line" near the Embarcadero.
Security guards at Embarcadero Center have reportedly noticed an uptick in the number of homeless individuals hanging out late at night, especially on weekends, in Sue Bierman Park, near the foot of Market Street. And as Matier reports, they then noticed that the SamTrans 292 bus lands at the 300 block of Drumm Street at 2:31 a.m. on Saturdays and 2:21 a.m. on Sundays, with the driver calling "everybody off" because it's the end of the line.
The bus route is part of some expanded service being offered by SamTrans from the Peninsula to the Transbay District, and the Drumm Street stop was originally designated by the SFMTA a year ago as a rest stop for SamTrans drivers. It then morphed into a bus stop six months later.
Supervisor Aaron Peskin compares the bussing of the homeless from SFO to "the type of homeless dumping that we sued the state of Nevada over a few years back." In that case, the City of San Francisco sued Nevada after it was found to have been giving bus tickets to California to some 1,500 mentally ill homeless people who ended up in state hospitals.
But blaming SamTrans seems disingenuous on its face given the fact that the SFPD now makes it a practice to hand out bus tokens to the homeless at SFO to get them out of the terminals, including free SamTrans tokens.
And as we learned in multiple stories last year, BART has just become another form of temporary shelter for some of the Bay Area's homeless, with many ending up stranded at the end of BART lines at the end of the night because they've been riding and/or sleeping on a train all day which then gets cleared out.
So whose problem are these homeless who end up at SFO? The airport's? San Francisco's? San Mateo County's? Or the city or county each individual originated in that day?
Peskin seems to be grandstanding calling it "unconscionable that agencies are playing what appears to be musical chairs with the homeless." But is that really what's happening here if homeless people are handed a bus token and they use it voluntarily to go back to SF?